Endorsement: Pedersen, Schlick, Killackey, Nozicka, Ochoa, Knizhnik for Lake County Board
Here are Daily Herald endorsements in contested primary races for Lake County Board in districts in the Daily Herald circulation area:
Dist. 1, GOP: Pedersen
Incumbent Linda Pederson of Antioch faces a challenge from James Creighton Mitchell Jr. of Lake Villa in the Republican primary for District 1.
Pederson has served on the board for 14 years, and her wealth of knowledge and experience shows. Prior to her board experience, she was an Antioch Township trustee, and she's currently serving on the county's Policy Committee for 911 consolidation. From Pederson's involvement in establishing a new 911 center to improving forest preserves, she wants to finish what she's started. She is fiscally responsible, and she understands county government.
Mitchell has experience on the county board, regional school boards and as a West Deerfield Township trustee. He says he is running because he is unhappy with Democratic leadership on a broad scale. He lists many areas where he'd like to implement change — policing, education, social issues, taxation and governmental consolidation — but offers no specifics on how. We worry Mitchell would struggle to work collaboratively with board members who don't align with his point of view.
Pederson has the leadership, experience and knowledge to serve county residents, and she deserves the chance to finish what she's started. Pederson is endorsed.
District 2, GOP: Schlick
Three candidates are running in the Republican primary for District 2. Adam Schlick faces David Spada, both of Wauconda. Cynthia Avino didn't respond to our interview request.
Schlick is the Wauconda Fire District battalion chief and serves as a Wauconda trustee. He says he is running because of his passion for public service and to bring leadership, transparency and problem solving to the Lake County Board. His experience as a trustee the last five years shows he is qualified, and he has his county goals prioritized, detailed and well organized. Fiscal responsibility is a key issue for him.
Spada is an attorney and has no prior public office experience. While he states he is running because he possesses the right qualities for the position, he doesn't offer specifics beyond that. He wants to eliminate wasteful spending but doesn't detail how he'd accomplish this.
Schlick's experience and well thought-out plans make him our choice. Schlick is endorsed.
Dist. 2, Democrat: Killackey
Two viable candidates seek the Democratic nomination in District 2. Shawn Killackey of Mundelein faces Linda Troester of Round Lake.
Killackey has served on the Fremont School Dist. 79 school board. This is his first time running for Lake County Board. His experience serving the Mundelein community on committees and commissions, along with his school board experience, provide the skills of working in a group, listening to the public and collaborating with others. After living in Lake County for 17 years, Killackey says he hopes to make a difference on a larger scale as part of the board, and we think he has the common sense and drive to do it.
Troester is also a longtime Lake County resident and says he is running to make the county more sustainable for the future. Now retired, her background in environmental and health sciences working for Dow Chemical makes her a worthy candidate to tackle environmental and climate concerns, such as stormwater and flooding issues.
It is clear that Troester cares about the future of Lake County and wants to be a leader helping the county thrive in the future. She's family focused, stating that her grandchildren are her motivation to run and keep Lake County's resources flourishing.
Both Killackey and Troester are caring and intelligent candidates, and either would be a good choice. Killackey's past experience gives him an edge, and he is endorsed.
Dist. 3, Democrat: Nozicka
Charles Nozicka of Green Oaks and Wendy Meister of Riverwoods are facing off in the District 3 Democratic primary.
Nozicka has experience in the county serving as Lake County Housing Authority commissioner. He says he's running to make an impact on residents' well-being and mental health. He wants to prioritize housing, fearing that seniors and veterans are being priced out of affordable housing. As a physician, Nozicka sees mental health services being ignored. He wants to bring crisis stabilization centers to Lake County to improve mental health care. And he hopes to improve forest preserves to keep residents healthy.
Meister says she is running to “examine the structural components of Lake County's governance and transparency.” She questions whether the county Board needs to be so large and whether members should be part-time rather than full time. She also wants to explore whether the board should oversee the park system. All are valid questions, but with no previous public service experience or more details, we wonder how Meister would implement change. She wants to improve accountability and transparency, and we applaud her desire to give residents a better experience and more information.
Because of Nozicka's previous experience, we see him as the better choice. He is endorsed.
District 16: Ochoa
Two viable candidates — Round Lake Beach residents Yesenia Jaycee Ochoa and Esiah Campos — seek the Democratic nod for the District 16 seat. There is no incumbent in the race.
Both are political newcomers seeking to become the first Hispanic county board member — a much-needed milestone in inclusivity and representation, especially for a district that is heavily Latino.
Latinos make up 50.6% of residents in Round Lake Beach; 40.7% in Round Lake Park; 22.5% in Round Lake; and 22.4% countywide.
Campos serves in the Navy Reserve and is a pension analyst for Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Ochoa is a real estate agent and managing broker at ReMax American Dream.
Both are committed to ensuring Latinos have a voice in countywide issues and policies.
Ochoa's experience working with mayors and other levels of government as one of the founders of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Lakes is a special asset. She aims to push for greater accessibility to county board meetings and services for residents with hearing impairments and for whom English is not their first language. Her broader community involvement especially will help her advance those goals.
Ochoa is endorsed.
District 18: Knizhnik
Candidates Akrom Hossain of Long Grove and Sara Frederick Knizhnik of Vernon Hills both have prior political experience, making them solid choices in the June 28 Democratic primary for the Lake County Board District 18 seat.
Hossain is a Vernon Area Public Library trustee who talks about cutting county spending across the board by 2%. He supports creating an independent commission to study consolidating or eliminating services.
Knizhnik is a Vernon Township trustee who also supports a forensic audit of county spending to identify inefficiencies. She spearheaded the establishment of an office of violence prevention in the Lake County state's attorney's office. She is particularly well-versed on issues facing the county.
Knizhnik is endorsed.